Rae-Yen Song, 'wūûūwūûū'

Part of Now & Next online screening

1 — 31 July 2023

Rae-Yen Song, ‘wūûūwūûū’, 2020. Courtesy of the artist.

wūûūwūûū’ is a 2D animation, in which digital drawing is combined with pen and fibre-tipped markers on paper, to create a vivid, self-contained realm of interconnected beings and spaces.

wūûūwūûū’ offers a mutating, ever-shifting vision of worlds within worlds within worlds. It introduces a cast of obscure, interconnected creatures, who variously consume, inhabit and host each other, in an ongoing, cyclical symbiosis of survival. Bodies do what bodies do: eat and excrete; sing and dance; come and go. Moments of levity and menace combine with elemental forces and unstoppable motions to form a distinctive, disorientating, but somehow harmonious process.

The characters and topographies of​‘wūûūwūûū’ form a bewildering but balanced ecosystem: they end where they begin. They appear alien and transient, but seem to bear an oblique wisdom, having something to teach us about ego and impermanence, in a world in which our interdependence – with entities which seem radically different – is unavoidable.

Rae-Yen Song

Rae-Yen Song works expansively across mediums, including drawing, sculpture, installation, costume, video, sound, performance, and family collaboration. Song’s work explores self-mythologising as a survival tactic: using fantasy and fabulation to establish a richly visual world-building practice informed by autobiography, ancestral journeys, Taoist philosophy, family ritual, multi-species interdependency, and science fiction. For Song, world-building becomes a tool for imaginative self-definition, with familial logics becoming the foundations of an alternative reality untethered from linear conceptions of space and time. It allows Song to resist colonial tropes and conventions, crafting multidimensional personal records and offerings for the future. These narratives yield a mix of humour, empathy and absurdity, whilst speaking broadly and politically about foreignness, identity, survival and what it means to belong ― or not.

Image description: A video still from a 2D animation; delivered via pen and fibre-tipped markers on paper. Against dusky purple expanse, a multi-limbed being – many faced, twisted-tongued, teal green – levitates in a yogic squat. The beings mouth-belly (beneath hypnotic red-nippled breast-eyes) with stained teeth and charcoal lips, delivers lurid green vegetative vomit. Waves of green rise, inundating the dusk.


Captions & Audio Description by Collective Text with the artist

Captions: Emilia Beatriz, Rae-Yen Song & Valery Tough
Caption Consultation: Bea Webster
BSL Interpretation: Sophie Allen
Audio Description Script by Elaine Lillian Joseph & Rae-Yen SongAudio Description voiceover: Rae-Yen Song
Audio Description Consultation: QUIPLASH

Closed Captions

Audio Described